- Published: 08 January 2015
- Written by dailynews
Self-styled war veteran and Buhera South Zanu PF MP Joseph Chinotimba and his son Edwin have taken over a 300-hectare macadamia-producing farm in Chipinge.
The farm, owned by former mining executive Collen Gura, was acquired in 2005 from Vince Cugnet.
It currently has 60 hectares under macadamia nuts, 10 hectares under avocado pears and also has a 100-hectare nursery with over 31 000 plants.
Gura stands accused of fronting for the previous owner despite having provided title deeds and an agreement of sale showing his purchase of the property. The purchase was handled through a local bank.
Onai Sithole, the acting Chipinge district lands officer, ordered Gura to vacate the farm within 45 days, in a December 11, 2014 letter, to make way for Chinotimba. The eviction violated the stipulated three months' notice period.
"This letter serves to notify you, Collen Gura, to vacate remainder of Strepie of Hofstede, Chipinge district as you do not have lawful authority from government to occupy the farm," read the letter.
"In terms of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, it is a criminal offence for one to occupy gazetted land without an offer letter, resettlement lease, or land permit from the ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement. You are therefore directed to vacate the farm within the next 45 days as you do not have an offer letter, lease or permit from the acquiring authority to occupy remainder of Strepie of Hofstede commonly known as Chihosa Chipinge district."
The invasion coincides with the harvesting of macadamia nuts, due in two months' time.
"Mdara (Gura) invested a lot of money on this farm since 2011 when he planted 100 hectares of nursery trees and he also bought machines in preparation for the export of the macadamia nuts to South Africa," said a worker at the farm who preferred anonymity fearing victimisation.
Gura, who retired from Metallon in 2011 to take up full time farming, referred all questions to the ministry of Lands.
Chinotimba, who was allocated a farm in Concession at the height of the land reform programme, defended the takeover.
"Edwin is a grown-up man and there is nothing wrong with him having been allocated the farm. After all, his father is a war veteran who fought for this country. What's so special about that? I was present when he went to claim his farm and right now as we speak, I am on my way there, what's wrong with that?" he said.
When quizzed on reports that he planned to exchange his Concession Farm with his son, Chinotimba arrogantly said whatever arrangement he entered with his son over the property was his business.
"If I am going to exchange farms with Edwin, it is our business and has nothing to do with anyone," he said.
Mandi Chimene, the Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister, declined to comment.
"I do not speak to you and have nothing to say to you," she said.